Our view: Hateful speech won’t inspire change

DKS Editors

Protestors clashed in Risman Plaza on Tuesday afternoon. A group of religious demonstrators had gathered, condemning gay rights, among other things. In response, those in favor of gay rights confronted the demonstrators with a counter-protest.

The arguments escalated between the two groups, and police were called by passersby who were concerned for their safety.

First and foremost, this is a great example of democracy in action on a college campus — a place where free speech, arguably, is more protected and more important than anywhere else.

But some critical side components regarding the ability to speak freely in public are often neglected, and today was a textbook example. While there were no violent altercations or major disruptions, the clash did not work to solve anything.

Rather, it seems, it was simply intended to vent frustration. Both sides of this highly controversial national issue were unyielding in their views, which were sometimes laced with profanity and eye-catching signs.

Forums aren’t about who’s got the most flare. For any real progress on this issue — or any issue as widely debated as gay rights — the forum must be respectful and open to opposing viewpoints.

We understand emotions can get heated and confrontation can develop when views are considered by most to be extreme or hateful. But what that does is fight fire with fire.

True change and progress can only come from meaningful and factual dialogue.